Ah, So *That’s* Where The Fat Went!

A rack of ribs; a leg of lamb;
A turkey roast; a marbled ham;
We used to cut the fat off, just to eat it!
The drippings from the roasting pan
We use for gravy, quite by plan—
For flavor, you can’t beat it.

But now, our culture’s seen a change
And eating fat is more than strange
When folks are on a diet
Though sugar may be worse by far
Fat gets the blame, so people are
Reluctant, now, to try it

In vain attempts to be more svelte,
The fat we hate, we simply melt
And pour it down the sink
Where does it go? It goes “away”
And more than that, we cannot say
Because we do not think.

The fat collected as we cook?
It’s down the drain, without a look;
Our thoughts end with our meals
But in the sewers, fat gets cold;
Beneath our streets, we now are told
It naturally congeals

A city’s worth of melted lard
Starts cooling down and turning hard
We know what comes of that:
Stalagmites of a lipid sort,
And one, we hear by last report,
That’s fifteen tonnes of fat

Of course, there’s much that we can do
To help prevent these bergs of goo,
The sewer gods explain:
It’s time for people to begin
When cutting fat, to toss it in
The bin, not down the drain!

A Thames Water press release has a very practical warning, illustrated by an extraordinary discovery. The warning? Don’t pour melted fat down your drain (they make this plea each year during the holiday season, I hear, when so many families simultaneously dump the fat from a roast turkey, ham, or yak, down the drain), because it will congeal and clog your pipes.

The discovery? A fifteen ton tonne “fatberg” (pic at the link–worth seeing):

“Given we’ve got the biggest sewers and this is the biggest fatberg we’ve encountered, we reckon it has to be the biggest such berg in British history.
“The sewer was almost completely clogged with over 15 tonnes of fat. If we hadn’t discovered it in time, raw sewage could have started spurting out of manholes across the whole of Kingston.
“It was so big it damaged the sewer and repairs will take up to six weeks.

Nearby residents were unable to flush their toilets, and the investigation led to the fatberg’s discovery.

Remind me, next Thanksgiving, to thank the people whose job it is to go down into the sewers in such cases of emergency. 15 tons of rancid fat is, frankly, nasty, but when the system is working perfectly these people are going down into the sewers to check on a city’s worth of waste.

So consider this a public service announcement: Next time you cut the fat from your dinner, dispose of it in the trash, not down the drain. Or do what I do, and cook with it, eat it eagerly, and enjoy it immensely.

(Cuttlecap tip to Ed Yong, via twitter.)

National Doughnut Day, 2013

Let us raise our voice in chorus
For that deep-fried, doughy torus
Though it’s not the best thing for us
It’s a super special treat
Found in bakeries or delis,
Dipped in sugars, filled with jellies,
We can stuff them in our bellies
Just as fast as we can eat

And it’s Donuts, Donuts, Donuts, and Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!
So let’s all go out and go nuts, saying Happy Donut Day!

Surely, nothing could be duller
Than a day without a cruller
In that toasted-almond color
So you know it’s cooked just right
I love fritters and berliners
Some say Boston Cremes are winners
Cider donuts for beginners
So you’re hooked at just one bite!

And it’s Donuts, Donuts, Donuts, and Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!
So let’s all go out and go nuts, saying Happy Donut Day!

In the US, the first Friday in June is, as you all know, National Doughnut Day (or National Donut Day), and has been since 1938 (I would never have guessed it’s that old!). ABCNews reports that free donuts (or doughnuts) are available at Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Hortons, and more. Sadly, the best donut in the known universe (as determined by me, but objectively true nonetheless) is no longer being made. It was the apple fritter (don’t complain that it is not technically a donut–it is the perfection that every donut would want to be if were able to choose) made by a small bakery one town over from Cuttletown. I lived next door to that bakery 27 years ago, and never tired of those fritters. We moved away, and when I went back to visit over a decade later, they had discontinued their fritters! Customers just weren’t buying deep-fried pastries, so they got rid of the equipment (gasp!) and the recipe (horror!).

So, you can have your National Donut Day (or National Doughnut Day); for me, it is a day of mourning, for what was, for its time in the universe, the best possible argument for Platonic Ideals.

(Yes, the verse is a re-run; you aren’t losing your mind.) (well, maybe)

I’ll Have A Slice Without So Much Rat In It…

It’s processed meat; they say it’s mutton—
And that, of course, is that.
No need to worry over nutton—
It’s not (or is it?) rat.

But rat it is, or fox, or mink,
(And some of it’s diseased)
Chinese officials made a stink
And now it’s all been seized.

Some twenty thousand tons of meat
Were seized in raids this year
From bogus beef to chicken feet
It’s not quite right, they fear.

So have some tart, with not much rat…
It’s safe–but just not very
And if you please, have cheese with that…
Cos next, they’re checking dairy

Yup… via CNN, a story bound to leave you peckish…

Police in China have spent three months seizing bogus meat, some of it fake beef or mutton made out of fox, mink and rat.
They snatched up around 20,000 tons of illegal products, according to state news agency Xinhua.
In 382 cases, officials arrested 904 suspects for passing off counterfeit meat, meat injected with water or diseased flesh to consumers, the news agency said.

I’ve never had rat, but I do have recipes (I collect recipes; if you have some you think I might like, please send them along!), and I would not be in the least hesitant to try them. But. I want my rat meat labeled as rat meat. (More likely, I’ll butcher my own.) If my recipe calls for mutton, I want mutton, and if my recipe calls for rat, I want rat.

It occurs to me that my last comment on Taslima’s blog linked to a cannibalism site. Like I said… I collect recipes.

Updating The Menu (Halal Mermaid!)

Via Ed, we hear that there has been a change of dietary heart. Whereas it was apparently once the case that mermaid were officially (there was an official fatwa) off the menu, Ed reports that mermaids A) exist, and B) are halal.

I really never thought I’d have the appropriate excuse to repost this one, but it’s one of my favorites. You have to read it aloud to get the internal rhymes.

A fish connoisseur made paella with Mermaid;
He thought the aroma was nice.
With garnish of seaweed (his sycophants “oui-oui-ed”)
And saffron infusing the rice.
He clarified butter, and started to mutter
“It tastes like it’s really Mazola”
Then added blue cheeses: “the trick, if you please, is—
With Gorgon, you need gorgonzola!”
With minimum bluster, he gutted and trussed her;
You see, in his studies, he’d learned
That the delicate features of mermaid-like creatures,
If left unattended, get burned.
The succulent breast of (as well as the rest of)
The meal, would make proud its creator;
I was told that one bite would bring utter delight,
And I could not refuse… so I ate her.

Food Dreams

I found myself eating, last night, in a dream,
These most wonderful scones, served with real clotted cream
And a strawberry jam that was fit for a king…
I awoke to a fridge that contained not a thing.

… well, close, but not quite 100% accurate. The fridge has all sorts of things in it… for thanksgiving dinner. Not for today. But I did have a dream about scones with jam and clotted cream. Oh, my goodness, I did have a dream about scones, jam, and clotted cream. Now I have to get clotted cream to have on hand for when the Cuttlekids come for thanksgiving. Or maybe just for me.

Have you ever dreamed about food? What food? What circumstances? Have your food dreams ever come true? Was that a good thing?

I’m Having Some Old Friends For Dinner

Update–Oh my word, that was wonderful! I thought about taking a pic of the final product, but foolishly took one bite first… and then ate it all.

Braised for an hour to tenderize, then cut up and marinated overnight, then grilled just a little bit ago. And the Okto wine was the perfect accompaniment.

Bacon Shortage Looms; Prices To Double Next Year

I can’t hear through the noise that I’m makin’
As the bones in my knees get to shakin’
It’s the worst news I’ve seen
For Two Thousand Thirteen—
We’ll be facing a shortage of bacon!

We’ll pay more, or we’ll just do without
But the shortage is real, there’s no doubt!
The source of our pain
Is the absence of rain
We’ll be victims of this season’s drought.

With the global pig industry troubled,
Where the market collapsed ‘ere it bubbled,
Better rein in your fork
Cos the prices of pork
They expect, by next year, to be doubled.

Via the Chicago (Hog Butcher for the World) Tribune, news of an unavoidable bacon shortage in the second half of next year. The Financial Times confirms that this is a global crisis; swine herds in Poland are down nearly 10%, and informal surveys of UK farmers suggest nearly double that.

Drought conditions have led to jumps in global prices of corn (maize), wheat, and soybeans, while US politicians ignored any mention of climate change. Maybe–just maybe–the politician’s natural affinity for pork will finally make a difference.

White House Secrets Released, Deemed “Delicious”

Something’s brewing at the White House
But I see no need for fear
They’ve released a vital secret—
It’s their recipe for beer!

There’s a White House Honey Porter
And a White House Honey Ale;
They’re in limited production
And they will not be for sale

If you’re really, really lucky
You might have one with the Prez—
You can judge if it’s incredible
Like everybody says

But if Romney takes the White House
Say goodbye to ale or stout
Which is just another reason
That we’ve got to keep him out!

For the good of all the nation
Give Obama four more years!
For our children… for tomorrow…
For our future… (for the beers!) [Read more…]

How Did I Miss This?!?!?

Today was, I just found out moments ago, National Donut (or Doughnut) Day, here in the US. How I missed it, though, is easily answered: I spent most of the day waiting while cars were repaired, to the tune of more money that I would have hoped for. Blech.

So none of that! On to the donut (or doughnut) verse! [Read more…]